Schoolhouse centenary

 In News

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the Caine’s Corners Section #8 Schoolhouse, its current residents, Mike and Connie Leishman, invite the public to an open house on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29 from 10 am to 5 pm.

The last time the building operated as a schoolhouse was in 1967. Before then, about 35 children ages 5-18 attended grades 1-8 there each year.

“More children went to school in the winter because they were helping on the farms during the spring and fall,” explained Jim Harkness, who will be speaking about the schoolhouse on Saturday.

To mark the occasion, Harkness has been collecting stories from former students. So far, he has heard about escaping from the schoolhouse’s back room while waiting to receive the strap; playing “cowboys and Indians” around the pine trees that were planted in the 1930s; and going down to the scary basement for activities on Hallowe’en.

One of these students, John McNiven, attended the one-room schoolhouse from 1944-1951. His mother worked as the custodian, so he would arrive at 6 am to light the furnace so the room would be warm by the time everyone arrived at 9 am.

McNiven, who was born and raised across the street from the schoolhouse, still lives there. He remembers enjoying what he learned at the school as well as the great teachers it had.

He played baseball and crokinole and sung in the choir conducted the music teacher, Mrs. Bell. When Mrs. Bell entered the choir in the Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto, McNiven said, “she asked George Pifher and I not to sing.”

He didn’t seem offended. “We ended up winning first place!”

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